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Tattletales for an Open Society

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I'm writing to turn myself in as someone who has failed to fall in line with the super-patriotic "bewildered herd" as Walter Lippmann once called the American mass public. In fact, as a political scientist who spoke at a student-organized teach-in at Lehigh University, and another at Moravian College, I have spoken out for thoughtful reflection in the wake of the heinous attack of September 11, urging students to scrutinize the media carefully (and seek independent media sources), to hear the divergent viewpoints of others, and to speak up in ways that they, too, may be heard. In typical fashion, the local media coverage characterized one of these exchanges as a "protest," and the other as "blaming America" for September 11. The question is, I guess, would ACTA and these media suggest that "education" means reinforcing acquiescent, reflex action on the part of today's young? Apparently so.

Professor of Political Science, Lehigh University


I confess to having written "Axis of Evil? or Excess of Awful" on the chalkboard.
I confess to having complained aloud in front of students that the Bushista Regime was and is an illegitimate usurpation of the vote and the power of the people.
I confess that I have told students that I heard a report that the CIA-Saint-Martyr (Spann) had just cold-bloodedly murdered three unarmed prisoners when the others in the bunch rose up and killed him.
I confess that I have told students and colleagues that I shall not fly the flag, nor repeat the Pledge of Allegiance again as long as the Pretender is in residence.
I pledge that I shall continue to denounce, repudiate, excoriate, ridicule, and otherwise demean the image of Resident George W. Bush as long as breath endures.
In Eternal Hostility To Cheney, Lieberman, Bennett and the whole neoliberal establishment, I am yours in Disobedience, Impudence and Inservility

Santa Fe, NM


I too must turn myself in, so please add me to the ACTA list of college and university faculty who "have been the weak link in America's response to the attack." Among my several crimes of publicly questioning the type of war we have been waging has been to question in class the suggestions coming from a number of highly placed politicians that terrorists and the organizations that support them simply don't understand us, and that we should be making ourselves more clear. I have gone so far as to suggest that perhaps they do understand us, at least in part, and that we might benefit from some introspection in regards to our foreign policies and how we present ourselves abroad. If any good is to come from the tragic events of September, one of the best may come here. Furthermore, I have suggested that to consider tax reductions during times of rapidly expanding defense budgets (which together are leading us from budet surpluses to deficits) is worse than fiscal irresponsibility and tantamount to attempting to buy votes. I must be an habitual criminal, because I don't even recognize the nature of my crimes, unrepentantly tending to consider open dissent one of the fundamental principles of a democracy, and pivotal to keeping democratic nations from drifting to extremism.

Department of Geology, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA


I must tattle on myself:

On the evening of September 11 I pointed out to my son that many more innocent children died of preventable childhood diseases and outright starvation that day than from the plane crashes and subsequent destruction. I further pointed out that many more had died of the same causes on September 10 and that many more would die on September 12th.

And just last week I told a group of homeless vets at the soup kitchen where I work that, although none of the hijackers of September 11 were Afghan, US military forces had now killed more innocent Afghan civilians than Americans killed by the events of September 11. And that, though the terrorist attacks were apparently planned in Hamburg, Germany, and all but one of the hijackers were Egyptian or Saudi Arabian, no bombs rained down on Germany, Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

Obviously, I should be included on the TAOS list.

STEPHEN R. JOHNSTON, B.A. (in History)


In a faculty senate meeting at my institution on January 9, 2002, to discuss the case of Dr. Sami al-Arian, I explained to those assembled that some of the most infamous violations of academic freedom came during wars when we labeled targets un-American or extremist, as when University of Minnesota regent Pierce Butler called professor William Schaper "the Kaiser's man" in an extemporaneous hearing in September 1917. I was clearly implying that we should be extremely cautious in tarring people with the label of unpatriotic, un-American or anti-American, and thus belong on the list.

Assistant Professor, University of South Florida

*** Since 9/11 I have said a number of things to my students that offer proof that I am, indeed, one of the weakest "of the weak link[s] in America's response to the attack." Why, only last week, in front of a US history class of 300 students, I referred to AG John Ashcroft as "that doofus." And today, I suggested to my students and to a young reporter from the UCLA newspaper, The Daily Bruin, that the President's State of the Union address was scary because it used the international terrorist paradigm in a fashion that was mindless and sweeping and reminiscent of black hole anti-Communism. I have also pointed out the irony of an avowed racist (Ashcroft) making decisions concerning racial profiling. I have made any number of tasteless pretzel and Enron jokes. I, like Professor Sherwin, have compared the frantic arrest of Muslims with Executive Order 9066. Also like Professor Sherwin, I was too young to make it onto any of Low-Blow Joe McCarthy's lists (although when I was 8 years old I did write a letter to him on behalf of my parents, who were both blacklisted). I missed Nixon's "Enemies List" because at that time I was milking goats on a commune in Southern Colorado and was clearly beneath his radar. I would very much like to be considered for inclusion in any ACTA report listing academics who are or who have been critical of the Administrations' war on terrorism. My thanks in advance.

Department of History, UCLA

*** In a letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch pubished November 7, 2001, I criticized the Administration's blind faith in weapons technology and covert operations to correct problems resulting from past technology deployments and past covert operations. I also deplored the "attribution by some Americans of a papal infallibility to the President in matters of military and foreign policy." Lest the ACTA think I am being partisan, I issued similar public criticism of Bill Clinton's "Desert Fox" operation during December 1998, saying that "Americans should reflect carefully on appeals by politicians to cease asking questions and support our troops."

Just to be sure that ACTA identifies me correctly, I was employed from 1966 to 1981 as a weapons test engineer for McDonnell-Douglas and held a secret security clearance. My years as a probationary faculty member at St. Louis Community ran concurrently with the two years of court-imposed supervised probation that resulted from my arrest in 1983 at a demonstarion at General Dynamics Corporation. More recently, I've published papers exposing the hypocrisy of corporate ethics codes, and criticizing the community college movement for its part in corporate globalization.

Professor, Engineering XXXSLTSUXXXamp; Technology
St. Louis Community College at Meramec


I am an art student at Indiana-Purdue, Indianapolis. I must confess that from December through January I displayed a piece of art in the IUPUI Cultural Arts gallery that called into question the immediate militaristic response and surge of seemingly unquestioning displays of nationalism that I observed from my place here in Indy. The piece consisted of hundreds of white clay figures looking very pathetic on two pedestals. On one pedestal was a quote from Hannah Arendt regarding the inability of dissenters to muster a meaningful challenge to Hitler in the Nazi era from Eichmann in Jerusalem. On the next pedestal were writings from my own journal detailing my feelings of anxiety about not doing more to voice my opposition to the events around me and a general feeling of helplessness. Behind the figures I played a video on the TV which interspersed footage of nationalistic billboards, yardsigns, bumperstickers and store displays with footage of the deployment of troops to the middle east and gulf war burning oil fields. The soundtrack was "Sanctus" from Mozart's Requiem. Apparently, this did not go over very well, because every time I went to check up on the piece the TV was turned off. If you want pictures I can send them.

Herron School of Art
Indiana University, Indianapolis


I am proud to be an American. My government's imperialistic and militaristic arrogance has nothing to do with this pride.

I teach English and Spanish, and I regularly assign my students readings from The Nation, Z Magazine and The Progressive. Then I ask them to write essays in response to these readings. This semester, I am going to have them write a paper related to "The War on Terror." Along with other materials (differing perspectives will be represented), I plan to assign "The Others," by Howard Zinn. This is an article that calls into question some commonly accepted "truths" our government and corporatized media have lately been hammering into the heads of American citizens. I intend to tell my students, as I pass this article out, that they are about to read something by one of America's great citizens, one whose hard head shatters hammers of propaganda like glass.

Highland Community College, Lansing, MI


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